HomeAbout MCUFacultyAcademic Chairs and ScholarsAmin Tarzi, Ph.D.

Amin Tarzi, PH.D.


Amin Tarzi is the Director of Middle East Studies at the Marine Corps University (MCU) in Quantico, Virginia. In his position, Dr. Tarzi supports MCU by providing a resident scholar with expertise on the Middle East and South/Central Asian analyzes current events, regional trends, U.S. policy decisions and strategies, and the culture and history of the broader Middle East and South/Central Asia. He represents Marine Corps at various academic and professional forums, teaching at the Marine Corps War College and other Marine Corps and sister service Professional Military Education programs, and mentoring the AfPak Hands Marines assigned to MCU. He is also a Senior Fellow, Program on the Middle East, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Prior to joining the MCU, he was with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Regional Analysis team focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan. While working at RFE/RL, he also taught courses in political Islam, cultural intelligence, terrorist organizations and similar topics at the Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies. Before joining RFE/RL, Dr. Tarzi worked as Senior Research Associate for the Middle East at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies where he primarily researched Iran and its missile and nuclear developments and policies. At the Monterey Institute, he also taught a graduate seminar on Middle East security policies and threat perceptions with focus on Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Israel. Dr. Tarzi’s prior experience includes holding the post of Political Advisor to the Saudi Arabian Mission to the United Nations dealing with the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Somalia; the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) extension; Iranian behavior in the United Nations; and Security Council expansion. After his tenure with the Saudi government, Dr. Tarzi held the position of Researcher/Analyst on Iranian affairs at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Tarzi has appeared in national and international media outlets, including CNN, BBC, NPR, Al-Jazeera, ABC News, CBS, Canadian TV, C-SPAN, Radio Netherlands and PBS News Hour among others. His commentaries have been published in numerous publications, including The New York TimesU.S. News & World ReportThe Christian Science MonitorThe Jerusalem PostNational JournalAsia TimesAssociated Press, Forbes, and Defense News.

Dr. Tarzi earned his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the Department of Middle East Studies at New York University and a bachelor degree in philosophy and political science from Queens College of the City University of New York. His publications include Taliban and the Crisis in Afghanistan, a co-edited volume with Professor Robert D. Crews of Stanford University (Harvard University Press, 2008) and The Iranian Puzzle Piece: Understanding Iran in the Global Context (MCU Press, 2009).

Recent Publications

“Iran, Russia, and the Taliban: Reassessing the Future of the Afghan State,” Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) Notes, 14 June 2017, https://www.fpri.org

“Iran and Russia Reenter the Afghan Conflict,” MES Insights 8:2, April 2017.

“Continuity Change and the Islamic Republic of Iran: The Lion in between the Bear and the Eagle,” MES Insights 8:1, February 2017.

“İran’ın Nükleer Anlaşması ve Obama Doktrini,” Analist (Ankara: USAK, March 2016).

“Iran’s Nuclear Deal and the ‘Obama Doctrine’,” Eurasia Review (16 March 2016).

“Taliban in Afghanistan” in Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, edited by Richard C. Martin (Farmington Hills: MI, Gale, February 2016).

“Tarikh-i Ahmad Shahi: The First History of ‘Afghanistan’,” in Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes, edited by Nile Green, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 79-96.

“Future of Nonproliferation after a Nuclear Deal,” with Talia F Ascher, MES Insights 6:2, April 2015.

Review of Isalm and Democracy: Perspectives on the Arab Spring, edited by Aylin Unver Noi (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), Marine Corps University Journal 5:2 (Fall 2014), pp. 73-74.

“US Foreign Policy and the Furture of the Middle East,” with Kenneth Pollack, Paul R. Pillar and Chas W. Freeman Jr., Middle East Policy, Vol. XXI, No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp.1-30.

“A Third Inning Ending to the Game in Afghanistan,” MES Insights 5:5, September 2014.

“Orienting Our Sights on the Future: Opportunities and Challenges of the Arab Spring,” ed. with Adam C Seitz, MES Monograph No. 3, August 2014.

“Afghanistan’s Presidential Elections,” MES Insights 5:4, July 2014.

“Future Direction of Afghanistan: A Look Into History,” MES Insights 5:2, April 2014.

“The Safeguard of the Iranian Regime: Nuclear Weapons Program,” MES Insights 4:5, November 2013.

“Transition in Afghanistan: Lessons from the Past,” Small Wars Journal, 14 June 2013, http://smallwarsjournal.com.

“The Diplomatic Push for Afghan Peace,” Council on Foreign Relations, 27 June 2013, http://cfr.org.

“Transition in Afghanistan: Lessons from the Past,” MES Insights 4:2, March 2013.

“The Maturation of Afghan Historiography,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 45 (2013), pp. 129-131.

“Taliban” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, edited by Gerhard Bowering et al. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012).

“Islam and Constitutionalism in Afghanistan,” Journal of Persinate Studies, 5 (2012), pp. 205-243.

“Political Struggles over the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands” in Under the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands, edited by Shahzad Bashir and Robert D. Crews (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), pp. 17-30.

“Egypt’s Democratic Process Among the Victims of the Gaza Conflict,” MES Insights 3:6, November 2012.

“Iran’s Policies Towards Afghanistan,” MES Insights 3:4, July 2012.

“Pakistan in Context,” in The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2012, pp. 6-7.